Football

Klopp pleased despite Saints stalement

Brazilian striker misses a golden chance right in front of goal

SOUTHAMPTON 0

LIVERPOOL 0

While some managers may have hit out at their players for the string of missed chances, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp had few complaints after the goalless stalemate against Southampton on Saturday.

In fact, he said he was satisfied with the performance.

His reason: Many of his players had only just returned from international duty.

The visitors created the best chances at St Mary's but wasted several clear-cut opportunities, with Roberto Firmino, Joel Matip and Nathaniel Clyne the biggest culprits.

While Adam Lallana missed out on a return to his former club with an injury suffered while on international duty, Liverpool started with Sadio Mane, Firmino and Philippe Coutinho in attack.

Firmino and Coutinho had been in action for Brazil, with former Southampton man Mane representing Senegal.

"The performance was much better than can be expected when you think of our preparation before the game," Klopp said.

"With players from South America, it is more difficult because they have long flights. We got them back on Thursday but they couldn't train.

"Sadio came back pretty early but Phil, because of the flight, he had a little ill-effect but nothing big, as everyone could see today."

The Liverpool boss was pleased that his side did not lose a game they were in a strong position to win.

"We were much better in the second half," he added.

GOOD PERFORMANCE

"It was a really good performance against a good side.

"Southampton are a well-organised side and I think they adapted their style to our strengths.

"We had enough chances to win the game, especially in the second half, our reaction was really good and the body language was better.

"I am fine with the performance, we could and maybe should have scored, that is how football is and many times in my life we have lost games like this - when you are much better and have more chances. But we didn't because we stayed concentrated."

Southampton boss Claude Puel insisted his side did not change their approach to counter the attacking threat of their opponents and was pleased to return from the international break with a strong display after losing at Hull a fortnight ago.

"We played a very good team with good players. It was important to keep the organisation, they score lots of goals and it is very difficult to develop our game.

"It is not our tactic (to defend), it is just that we played a very good team. They have good, physical players who are also technical and have a good spirit.

"We know it is always difficult after the international break. It is difficult with 15 international players.

"I am happy with the attitude and the spirit among my players."

The Saints failed to get a single shot on target, with Charlie Austin's second-half header wide of goal the closest they came.

Puel was again left praising the impact of defender Virgil van Dijk, who has shone in most games this season.

Asked about another superb display by the former Celtic man, Puel replied: "Yes, but he is in every game, it is not a surprise, it is not amazing. Since the beginning of the season, Virgil has been excellent." - PA Sport.


for the first time this season there was a lack of quality in front of goal. (Roberto) Firmino’s was the standout chance, (Joel) Matip could have done more — maybe been a bit braver from a fantastic (Philippe) Coutinho cross — and then (Nathaniel) Clyne at the back post.

— Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher

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